If you are visiting Maui, Molokini Crater is a must-see. This uninhabited 23-acre islet is a volcanic crater that was formed 230,000 years ago after a massive eruption sent debris flying and left the volcano partially submerged. Since then, Molokini has served a number of purposes, from use as a fishing location for native Hawaiians to serving as a target to practice on for the U.S. Army during World War II.
Today, Molokini is a peaceful space frequented by scuba divers and snorkelers. The islet is a protected seabird sanctuary in the state of Hawaii and is the home of 250-260 different marine species. As you paddle through the waters you are likely to see black triggerfish, yellow tang, Moorish idol, parrotfish, raccoon butterflyfish and bluefin trevally. You may even potentially see whitetip reef sharks and moray eels, if you’re lucky!
You will also float by incredible coral reefs unlike any others in the world. The islet is home to 38 different species of coral in a rainbow of colors. Snorkeling in Molokini is a life-changing experience. The shape of the islet makes it a perfect swimming spot because it protects swimmers against waves, and the incredibly amounts of biodiversity are unforgettable. As you glide through the open water you will see a whole new world living just below the surface. We have selected the two tours that we believe fit the broadest range of interests and compared them so you can make a more informed decision about your adventure. So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive right in!
Here’s a brief overview of how the tours compare to each other.
When considering a Molokini snorkeling tour, it is important to consider the experience level of your group, desire to swim with others, and time constraints. The Molokini & Turtle Arches Snorkel tour is suitable for beginners and those on the lookout for incredible wildlife. You’ll begin your day with a morning cruise toward the Molokini Islet, heading out before the vast majority of tourists begin their adventure. At this time of day it is not uncommon to see playful dolphins slicing through the water, hoping to interact with curious people. As you watch the aquatic world come to life you will be treated to a complimentary Continental breakfast of bagels and pastries.
Once you reach Molokini, you’ll take your first dip in the water of the iconic crescent bay. Here you’ll have the chance to see even more wildlife, including colorful tropical fish and exotic sea animals. You’ll be able to see the world-renowned coral reefs up close and personal, all while swimming leisurely through the Hawaiian waters. Your second stop on this tour will be the famous Turtle Town, a popular home for sea turtles. This spot is revered by ecologists, biologists, and tourists alike for the unique view of the turtles in their natural habitats. The animals, which are accustomed to human interaction, are comfortable around people and will not skitter away. However, you should maintain your distance to protect these beautiful creatures!
“Molokini Crater is something you have to see to believe…a snorkeling tour is a must when visiting Maui!”
This 5-hour tour is suitable for everybody in the family, as this TripAdvisor reviewer, a grandmother with her son and 8-year-old grandson, commented. This makes it a fantastic choice for those who have limited timelines, or who simply feel less comfortable snorkeling. Your tour guides are also certified marine naturalists who have plenty of experience in the field and work to make sure you feel safe and comfortable. There is also a Junior Naturalist program for the kids on board, an additional family-friendly activity that is sure to make your youngsters happy.
The main downside of this tour is that it is crowded. The boat can hold up to 120 people at a time, so you likely won’t get all of your questions answered by the tour guide. However, the guides work hard to ensure that everyone has a fun and rewarding trip!
With an adult price (ages 13 and up) of $103.95 and a kids price of $52.95, this tour is well worth the money. For this price you get over 5 hours of fun, complimentary breakfast and lunch, and refreshments throughout the day, including beer and wine for those over the age of 21! While you can’t put a price on a magnificent day, we believe that this tour can fit into anyone’s budget.
To learn more about this adventure, click here.
5 hour excursion
Two snorkel sites – including World famous Molokini reef
Premium snorkel gear, including optical masks for eyeglass wearers
Flotation devices, snorkel instruction, fish i.d. Class
Onboard Jr. Naturalist Program for kids
Lunch grilled onboard
Reef Safe Sunscreen – free application before boarding/small bottles available at cost ($3) onboard vessel
Affordable rentals of wetsuit shirts, underwater cameras, binoculars
Children ages 0 -12 are free (one per paying adult)
No transportation provided
Rentals of wetsuit shirts, underwater cameras, and binoculars costs an additional fee
If you are searching for an intimate tour to explore Molokini with, look no further than the Molokini Wild Side Snorkel Eco-Adventure. This more advanced tour included 6 hours of exposure to the beautiful ocean and 2 – 3 snorkel sites, depending on weather and ocean conditions.
On each Wild Side adventure, you will be joined by no more than 37 other individuals on the 54-foot-long Ocean Explorer catamaran. The spacious boat has open seating across its single deck, and offers unobstructed views of the incredible Molokini Crater. You will be able to move freely across the boat so you can view the spectacular scenery from any direction you wish.
This tour has a flexible itinerary, so after swimming through the gorgeous crater your group will have the option to explore the island on your terms. You will navigate your way around the islet and choose a second and third snorkeling location based on the day, time, and weather. This ability to go with the flow of the natural scenery means that you will find the best snorkeling conditions possible! You’ll also get a private tour of the Maui coastline as you return to the dock.
This long tour also works hard to make sure that nobody is left hungry! The tour includes a continental breakfast of bagels with cream cheese and a side of fruit. If bagels are not your preferred breakfast, there are also a number of delicious pastry options to choose from!
Come lunchtime you’ll be served a delicious deli-style grilled chicken sandwich wrap, filled with spinach, tomato, carrots, cucumber, and condiments. This nutritious lunch will leave you satisfied, helping you stay full for the rest of your adventure-filled day. The tour also offers vegetarian options, though we recommend telling the company about your dietary restrictions as early as possible.
Throughout the day you’ll also have the opportunity to sip on unlimited soda and juice! If you’re over 21, you’ll receive a free beer from Maui Brewing Company or your choice of wine.
With tour guides who are certified marine naturalists on board, your group will walk away from your tour with a deeper understanding of the natural wildlife that surrounds Maui. These experts will teach you all about the different animals that live in the waters, and you might even get lucky enough to see some of them!
At $132.17 per person for adults age 13 and up and $65.95 for children 12 and under, this 6-hour tour is an affordable way to spend the day in Maui. Your contribution goes further than just paying for your trip though. All profits from this tour are sent to the Pacific Whale Foundation, an organization that supports scientific endeavors to help the wildlife around Hawaii! So you can have an amazing experience and feel great about giving back at the same time.
To learn more about this tour or book your adventure today, visit our link here.
6 Hour Tour
Certified Marine Naturalists as your tour guide to educate you about things you’ll see
Premium snorkel gear and instruction including optical masks for eyeglass wearers
Available wetsuit, underwater camera or binoculars for rental
Two snorkel sites
Continental breakfast provided
Unlimited soda and juice, plus one complimentary alcoholic beverage for those 21 and older with valid photo id
Onboard Jr. Naturalist Program for kids
Reef-safe sunscreen and filtered water available onboard
Children must be a minimum of 8 years of age
Not recommended for guests who are pregnant, have heart problems, or problems with your back, neck or knees
Non-swimmers are not allowed in the water on this tour
Your Molokini adventure awaits
Molokini is truly unlike anywhere else in the world, and a trip to Maui is incomplete without paddling through its pristine waters. Whether you are looking for a family-friendly adventure or something a little more intimate, there is a Molokini snorkeling tour that fits your needs.
Are you ready to take the leap into the clear blue water? Book your Molokini tour today!